The Runaways could have been a terrific rock and roll B-movie blast, something along the lines of American Hot Wax (1978), if only Floria Sigismondi had more confidence in the sauciness of the material and better instincts in directing the actors. (She does have a great original opening shot, though, a female teenage rite-of-passage that promises more than what the movie ultimately delivers on.) The Runaways becomes more and more conventionally flat as it goes on. When the band breaks up and Currie has transcended her drug trials, she hears Joan Jett on the radio sending out her new record, a cover of Tommy James & the Shondells’ ethereal classic “Crimson and Clover.” Sigismondi signals the audience that, through this tune, these girls discover a lasting and loving bond that goes beyond the sordid rock world that tore them apart.
Isn’t it sweet?
Rather than do justice to the cherry bombs The Runaways dropped on the rock audience, Sigismondi’s film turns their tale into punk kitsch.